Day Five: All Together Now

Hebrews‬ ‭10:23-25‬ ‭(NIV) – And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.‬‬‬‬‬‬

“Here, perhaps, is an even greater need—that God’s people collectively be so ‘full of God’ by his Spirit that our worship and our homes give full evidence of the Spirit’s presence: by song, praise, and thanksgiving that simultaneously praise and adore God and teach the community, and by the kind of submission of ourselves to one another in which the concern is not ‘who’s in charge around here,’ but how to love in the family as Christ loved the church and gave himself for her.” [G. Fee, God’s Empowering Presence, 722]

The beauty and power of this life in the Spirit is not just seen in us individually but in our corporate life and worship together. When God’s people praise him together with their whole hearts, something always happens. Let us worship to “Fill This Place“ by Red Rocks Worship (Click here) as we pray for our churches to be filled with the fullness of God, so as to be the people of his presence and the instruments of his love where he has placed us.

Prayer: “God, may our churches be filled with the fullness of your Spirit, that we may live out our calling as a worshipping community. In Jesus’ name, amen.”

– CHH

FacebooktwittermailFacebooktwittermail

Day Four: Sing to the Lord

Psalms‬ ‭103:1-2‬ ‭(NLT) – Let all that I am praise the Lord; with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name. Let all that I am praise the Lord; may I never forget the good things he does for me.‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

“Paul called on the church at Ephesus to live a Spirit-filled life full of musical praise … Paul’s vision—his dream, we may call it—in this letter is of Christians living in sustained mutual love, always submitting to each other out of reverence for Christ their Lord, and singing as they go, with the music of praise prayer constantly on their lips because it is constantly in their hearts …” [JI Packer and C. Nystrom, Praying, 112]

One of the evidences of being filled with the Spirit is worship and praise. As the Spirit leads us into truth, we have much to sing about: praising God for who he is and giving thanks for what he has done, is doing and will do.

Today, lift up your own praise prayer using one or two phrases from Psalm 103. Sing and pray it to the Lord. Sing it also over your church, missional group and campus ministry.

Prayer: “Lord, let the words in the Psalms sink deep into my soul so that I sing and praise you with all that I am. In Jesus’ name, amen.”

– CHH

FacebooktwittermailFacebooktwittermail

Day Three: Instead, Be Filled

Ephesians 5:18b-21 (NIV) – Instead, be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.

“The text does not ask us to be “religious” … the text calls instead for a sense of God’s presence that results in spontaneous and authentic joy. Such joy may be expressed in a variety of fashions.” [K. Snodgrass, NIVAC: Ephesians, 301]

This portion of Ephesians describes what a life that is filled with the Spirit looks like. To be filled with the Spirit results in speaking rightly to one another, singing and giving thanks to the Lord, and mutual submission. Rather than going through the motions or doing religious exercises in trying to fill what we’re missing, it is about us being filled by and with the Spirit, which overflows with joyful living.

Let us worship to the song “We Praise You” by Matt Redman (Click here). As you sing, sense God’s presence, freedom and joy over you and your church community to live like this.

Prayer: “Father, let your Spirit’s filling come into all areas of my life such that it overflows with joy even in the midst of challenges/difficulty. In Jesus’ name, amen.”

– CHH

FacebooktwittermailFacebooktwittermail

Day Two: Under the Influence

Ephesians 5:18a (NIV) – Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery.

“Of course (verse 18), there’s nothing like a few drinks to make opportunities slip by unobserved. Paul has nothing against wine; but against getting drunk he is adamant. That’s no way for a Christian to behave. If you want to celebrate – and why not? – then you know what to do. Let the Spirit fill your hearts and lives, particularly your minds and imaginations. Use all the resources of the rich Christian tradition – its poems, its pictures, its liturgies, its hymns – to help you do so.” [NT Wright, Ephesians for Everyone]

Many of us may not struggle with being drunk on wine, but we may be able to relate to being under the influence of other things. When we’re filled with wrong influences, we need to be emptied of them so as to make room. As Christians, we can instead choose to live in the pattern of receiving the Spirit’s filling and being renewed by the Spirit continually. In that way, there is no more room for the wrong influences. That’s the topped off, full life in the Spirit that God desires for us!

Let us worship to “Lord I Need You” by Matt Maher (Click here) as we pray for the Spirit to be the dominating influence in our lives.

Prayer: “God, let the patterns of my thoughts be influenced more by your Holy Spirit. Let your kingdom and righteousness saturate and overflow in every area of my life. In Jesus’ name, amen.”

– CHH

FacebooktwittermailFacebooktwittermail

Day One: Walk Wisely

Ephesians 5:15-17 (NIV) – Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.

“Wisdom involves considering all information in light of one’s relation to God and acting on what one knows … the focus is on the process of discerning what the Lord wants.” [K. Snodgrass, NIVAC: Ephesians, 300]

How is the wisdom described here different from what people around us define as wisdom? What makes the days ‘evil’?

Many of us know what it feels like to miss out on something so good because of a foolish decision. It’s never a waste of time to seek God’s perspective. As people who are awakened and brought into the light of Christ, we can now understand God’s will and live in the wisdom described here. Chaos and uncertainty might surround us, but God can navigate us through any storm. The simple and even small decisions that we make today with the Lord can usher in what is lasting and eternal.

Let us worship to the song “Endless Alleluia” by Bethel Music (Click here).

Prayer: “Lord, help me to make the most of my opportunities to be filled with the Spirit, so I may know how you want me to live. In Jesus’ name, amen.”

– CHH

FacebooktwittermailFacebooktwittermail

Day Five: Christ Will Shine On You

Ephesians 5:13-14 NIV – Everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light. This is why it is said:

“Wake up, sleeper,
rise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you.”

Today’s passage describes what happens when we bring the numb and sleepy parts of our lives into the light – we become light! But just as important is understanding why – what is God’s motivation? God’s motivation is love. We think at times God’s agenda in making us light is just to make us “good” in the narrow moral performative sense. As if God is wagging his finger saying “hey now, you need to forgive, hey you need to be thankful, hey you need to be a ‘good‘ person.” And maybe that’s the message we hear when the Bible says “find out what pleases the Lord.” We wonder – ok that’s good for God, but is that good for me?

But that misses God’s heart. To bear good fruit is not just about being good, it is about living in God’s “good”-ness. It breaks God’s heart to see us asleep and imprisoned by bitterness and regret. It brings God pleasure to see his children free, it brings God pleasure to see his children whole. This is what “pleases” the Lord.

Prayer: “Heavenly Father, shine your light on our lives. By the power of the Holy Spirit, may we hear and heed the call to wake up, rise up, and live in the light of Christ.”

– LL

FacebooktwittermailFacebooktwittermail

Day Four: Life of Thanksgiving, Life of Transformation

Ephesians 5:4 NLT – Obscene stories, foolish talk, and coarse jokes—these are not for you. Instead, let there be thankfulness to God.

“Thanksgiving is the basic attitude of the Christian, for it forces attention on God, his grace and his desires rather than on one’s own desires. When we acknowledge God and give thanks for life from him, responsibility to him is established and life is ordered away from self-centeredness and sin.
The practice of thanksgiving is itself transforming. It is difficult for a person to be thankful and spiteful at the same time. It is difficult for a person to be thankful for his or her spouse and at the same time to be desiring another person—not impossible, but difficult.”
[Klyne Snodgrass, NIVAC: Ephesians]

For Apostle Paul, “thanksgiving” serves as a catch-all description of the language, behavior, and life perspective of the Christian. Giving thanks is the daily practical alternative to living our past and is a powerful antidote to sin.

What does Snodgrass mean when he writes “the practice of thanksgiving is itself transforming”? What are practical ways we can give thanks today? What might it look like to give thanks with our lives in our workplaces and campuses?

Prayer: “Thank you Lord that today we are people of thankfulness because of what you have done on the cross. Transform us daily as we live out thankfulness in our churches and cities. In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen.”

Let’s worship to “This We Know” by Passion (Click here).

– LL

FacebooktwittermailFacebooktwittermail

Day Three: By the Grace of God

1 Corinthians 15:8-10 – For I am the least of the apostles. I am not worthy to be called an apostle because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not useless. [Translation by Klyne Snodgrass]

“When Paul said, ‘By the grace of God I am what I am,’ he made the most freeing statement in all the world. This is not a statement of arrogance or distance from others. Paul is not saying, ‘This is just who I am, and leave me alone.’ It is not a statement of one who takes grace lightly or does not know the significance of Christian faith. It is a statement describing the experience of one whose life has been turned around, reordered, and given responsibility he did not deserve.”
[Klyne Snodgrass, Who God Says You Are]

We often think of God giving us grace and our role is to respond, but Paul sees it as more than that – it is God’s grace that generates the response in us. Grace is not passive, but powerfully active at work in our lives. How does this perspective of God’s grace shape our expectations and give us hope about personal healing and transformation?

Prayer: “Thank you Lord that your grace is not wimpy or ineffectual. We are free to say ‘I am what I am’ because your grace is powerfully at work in our lives. In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen.”

Let’s worship to “Here I Bow” by Bethel Music (Click here).

– LL

FacebooktwittermailFacebooktwittermail

Day Two: You (All) Are Awake Today

Ephesians‬ ‭5:8-10‬ ‭NIV‬‬‬‬‬‬ – For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord.

As those who are awake in Christ’s light we now wake up, stand up, run, and jump. We live and operate in ways that were previously unimaginable and impossible. We are no longer defined and confined by our past hurts and mistakes.

But we can hit the snooze button by holding onto bitterness, guilt, and sin. It is a habit we brought from our old life in the dark when change was impossible. So when we hear you all are adopted, powered up, and rooted, we think: “wow that sounds great, I can’t wait for that day when that’s true for me.” And we find ourselves waiting for some future time when God’s word will finally be personally true for our lives.

But this breaks God’s heart because He says today “live as children of light.” Imagine my 8-year-old son saying, “I can’t wait for that day when I’ll have a father.” This is heartbreaking because I’m ready to be his father now! So today as we hear “live as children of light,” it is an invitation to embrace who we are and be embraced by God today.

Prayer: “Heavenly Father, in the light of Christ we are light. No more hitting the snooze button. In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen.”

– LL

FacebooktwittermailFacebooktwittermail

Day One: Live Who You Are

Ephesians‬ ‭5:8-10‬ ‭NIV‬‬‬‬‬‬ – For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord.

“The first half of the letter [of Ephesians] is completely indicative. Meaning Paul outlines truths, facts, and writes authoritative statements on who God is, what He has done, and who we are. Paul says: This is the truth about God. This is the gospel of what God has done. Then, he says this is your identity: adopted children of God, His masterpiece, His people. All of this comes before Paul writes any imperatives or commands. Identity comes first because who we are—and who we think we are—defines how we live.”
[Brad Watson, Ephesians: How Jesus Creates a New People in a New World]

Paul does not write “you are part light and part dark,” nor does he write “you are gradually more light.” What does this say about the relationship between our old past life of darkness and our new present life in the light? As Christians, what power does our past have in defining who we are?

Prayer: “Heavenly Father, thank you we are now ‘light’ in the Lord. Through the power of the Holy Spirit we can and do live as children of light! In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen.”

Let’s worship to “Who You Say I Am” by Hillsong Worship (Click here).

– LL

FacebooktwittermailFacebooktwittermail